chrispederick / tags / technology

Tagged with “technology” (40)

  1. The Decentralized Web

    S01E07: The Decentralized Web

    Darius talks a lot about the decentralized web and in particular ActivityPub, a newish web specification that is trying its best to make it possible for social network sites to talk to each other in a standardized way. You might be familiar with Mastodon as a kind of Twitter replacement, and we talk about that but also PeerTube and a few other things. Emma has many questions about this uncharted territory of the web, and Darius answers them by saying "well, in theory" a lot. Like a lot a lot. Things mentioned: the Friend Camp code of conduct and that time Facebook bought Instagram and then disabled Instagram’s Twitter compatibility.

    —Huffduffed by chrispederick

  2. The Science Hour, History of Everyday Technology

    History of technologies that have changed our lives.

    Gareth Mitchell tells the remarkable stories of some of the technologies and devices that touch our lives every day. Melissa Hogenboom picks six technologies and finds out how they developed with the help of objects and curators at the Science Museum in London. Tilly Blyth, keeper of Technologies and Engineering at the Science Museum, talks to Gareth about the process of technological innovation.

    Syringe Selina Hurley, associate curator of Medicine, tells the story of how we’ve worked out how to get drugs in and blood out of our bodies. The story goes from the eight century, via lancets and the origins of immunisation to the modern syringe.

    Refrigeration In front of the Science Museum’s collection, Helen Peavitt, curator of Consumer Technology, talks about the development of the fridge from American ice boxes to modern fridge freezers.

    Navigation Once a gyroscope starts spinning it stays upright. David Rooney, curator of Navigation, explains how the gyroscope is behind the navigation of ships and spacecraft, although the gyrocar, the brain child of inventor Louis Brennan at the start of the 20th Century did not take off.

    Brain Scanners Seeing inside the brain with scanners has helped to diagnose injuries and disease. In front of the first CAT scanner, Katie Dabin, curator of Medicine, explains how it was invented by Godfrey Hounsfield, then an engineer at the electrical company EMI, better known for putting out The Beatles records.

    Computers Tilly Blyth traces the history of computers from Charles Babbage’s difference engine, through the Pilot Ace of the 1950s to the BBC Micro in the 1980s.

    3D Printing James Watt is known for his work on the steam engine but in his old age he built machines to reproduce busts and other objects. In front of Watt’s workshop, which has been recreated in the Science Museum, Curator of Mechanical Engineering, Ben Russell, discusses this forerunner of 3D printing with Melissa Hogenboom.

    The Science Hour is presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from Melissa Hogenboom.

    —Huffduffed by chrispederick

  3. Neil deGrasse Tyson & Bill Nye talk “The Future of Humanity” with Elon Musk

    Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the future of humanity with one of the men forging that future: billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Co-hosted by Chuck Nice and guest starring Bill Nye.

    —Huffduffed by chrispederick

  4. Vernor Vinge: What If the Singularity Does NOT Happen? - The Long Now

    Non-Singularity scenarios

    Vinge began by declaring that he still believes that a Singularity event in the next few decades is the most likely outcome— meaning that self-accelerating technologies will speed up to the point of so profound a transformation that the other side of it is unknowable.

    And this transformation will be driven by Artificial Intelligences (AIs) that, once they become self-educating and self-empowering, soar beyond human capacity with shocking suddenness.

    He added that he is not convinced by the fears of some that the AIs would exterminate humanity.

    He thinks they would be wise enough to keep us around as a fallback and backup— intelligences that can actually function without massive connectivity!

    (Later in the Q&A I asked him about the dangerous period when AI’s are smart enough to exterminate us but not yet wise enough to keep us around.

    How long would that period be?

    “About four hours,” said Vinge .)

    Since a Singularity makes long-term thinking impractical, Vinge was faced with the problem of how to say anything useful in a Seminar About Long-term Thinking, so he came up with a plausible set of scenarios that would be Singularity-free.

    He noted that they all require that we achieve no faster-than-light space travel.

    The overall non-Singularity condition he called “The Age of Failed Dreams.”

    The main driver is that software simply continues failing to keep pace with hardware improvements.

    One after another, enormous billion-dollar software projects simply do not run, as has already happened at the FBI, air traffic control, IRS, and many others.

    Some large automation projects fail catastrophically, with planes running into each.

    So hardware development eventually lags, and materials research lags, and no strong AI develops.

    To differentiate visually his three sub-scenarios, Vinge showed a graph ranging over the last 50,000 and next 50,000 years, with power (in maximum discrete sources) plotted against human populaton, on a log-log scale.

    Thus the curve begins at the lower left with human power of 0.3 kilowatts and under a hundred thousand population, curves up through steam engines with one megawatt of power and a billion population, up further to present plants generating 13 gigawatts.

    His first scenario was a bleak one called “A Return to MADness.”

    Driven by increasing environmental stress (that a Singularity might have cured), nations return to nuclear confrontation and policies of “Mutually Assured Destruction.”

    One “bad afternoon,” it all plays out, humanity blasts itself back to the Stone Age and then gradually dwindles to extinction.

    His next scenario was a best-case alternative named “The Golden Age,” where population stabilizes around 3 billion, and there is a peaceful ascent into “the long, good time.”

    Humanity catches on that the magic ingredient is education, and engages the full plasticity of the human psyche, empowered by hope, information, and communication.

    A widespread enlightened populism predominates, with the kind of tolerance and wise self-interest we see embodied already in Wikipedia.

    One policy imperative of this scenario would be a demand for research on “prolongevity”— “Young old people are good for the future of humanity.”

    Far from deadening progress, long-lived youthful old people would have a personal stake in the future reaching out for centuries, and would have personal perspective reaching back for centuries.

    The final scenario, which Vinge thought the most probable, he called “The Wheel of Time.”

    Catastrophes and recoveries of various amplitudes follow one another.

    Enduring heroes would be archaeologists and “software dumpster divers” who could recover lost tools and techniques.

    What should we do about the vulnerabilities in these non-Singularity scenarios?

    Vinge ’s main concern is that we are running only one, perilously narrow experiment on Earth.

    “The best hope for long-term survival is self-sufficient off-Earth settlements.”

    We need a real space program focussed on bringing down the cost of getting mass into space, instead of “the gold-plated sham” of present-day NASA.

    There is a common critique that there is no suitable place for humans elsewhere in the Solar System, and the stars are too far.

    “In the long now,” Vinge observed, “the stars are not too far.”

    (Note: Vinge’s detailed notes for this talk, and the graphs, may be found online at: /longnow/index.htm ) —Stewart Brand

    —Huffduffed by chrispederick

Page 1 of 4Older